🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Struthio camelus

“An ostrich with its head in the sand is just as blind to opportunity as to disaster.”

The Ostrich (struthio camelus) is a member of a group of birds known as ratites, that is they are flightless birds without a keel to their breastbone, and are native to Africa. Of the 8,600 bird species which exist today, the ostrich is the largest. Standing tall on long, bare legs, the Ostrich has a long, curving, predominantly white neck. The humped body of the male is covered in black patches and the wings and tail are tipped with white. The female is brown and white. These huge birds, which sometimes reach a height of 2.6 m and a weight of 135 kg, cannot fly, but are very fast runners.

Here in South Africa, Ostriches were almost wiped out in the 18th century due to hunting for feathers. By the middle of the 19th century, due to the extensive practice of ostrich farming, the ostrich population increased. The movement changed to domesticating and plucking ostriches, instead of hunting. Ostriches have been successfully domesticated and are now farmed throughout the world, particularly in South Africa, for meat, feathers and leather. The leather goes through a tanning process and is then manufactured into fashion accessories such as boots and bags.

I don't have any nice pics of Ostriches myself, so I decided to do this sketch for this post. Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Maree©

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